For the most part, I’ve remained silent on the issue of gay marriage and Prop 8 due to the rift I have seen it cause between Facebook friends, real friends and families who share differing views and opinions about the subject, most of whom aren’t even gay themselves. I watched Chick-fil-A strive to maintain their business after it was determined that they, a Christian-owned company, financially supported organizations who opposed Prop 8. What’s interesting is that we did not see the same fight against companies who were helping to fund the defense for George Zimmerman. But, I digress.
These past two weeks, have seen the resurgence of the fight to legalize gay marriage, and although I remain indifferent, there are some aspects of this fight that annoy me, and which have compelled me to finally speak on this issue.
Opposition of gay marriage does not equal hate of homosexuals, no matter how you slice it. This is not to say that some people who oppose Prop 8 don’t also hate homosexuals, but all people who oppose Prop 8 don’t hate homosexuals. Most who oppose gay marriage do so because of their religious beliefs. When your core values come in conflict with the law, the law will lose every time. Therefore, just because my friend is Muslim and believes that men should be able to have multiple wives, and I believe in monogamy, doesn’t mean I hate polygamists. It just means I don’t believe in polygamy, and given that we both have the freedom to believe what we believe, he should not be held in contempt for his convictions and neither should I.
The argument for gay marriage is misplaced. Instead of trying to get people to wake up one day and believe that gay marriage, and thereby, homosexuality are ok (which is HIGHLY unlikely), why not attack the root of the problem, which is the fact that we are even allowed to VOTE on whether certain people can get married or not? That, to me, is the real issue. If my God says that eating cheese is wrong, you’re NEVER going to change my mind about eating cheese. Get over it and find another way to get the desired result because that’s not going to cut it.
Stop equating the gay issue with the plight of Blacks in America. There have been no shortage of gay people on my TV, in film, at church, at school, at places of employment or anywhere else. Our prisons are not filled with homosexuals (well maybe not until AFTER they’ve been in for a while) and gay people practically dominate the entertainment industry, which inadvertently puts them in a position of mass influence. There are no straight-only water fountains or establishments and no one makes gay people sit at the back of the bus. MY fight, as a Black women, is BIGGER than the ability to call my connection with another human being marriage. MY fight can directly affect my financial status, my pride, and my future. I cannot hide my blackness nor does it give me the upper hand in ANY situation or circumstance. So, pardon me if I don’t change my profile picture on Facebook, write my Congressman, or engage in a battle of wits about whether Mike and Bob should be recognized as husband and husband. There is still work to be done with regards to MY fight, and there has been for over 400 years.
Lastly, since many advocates are calling this a civil “rights” issue, why have proponents of gay marriage failed to assert which actual ‘rights” they are being denied aside from being unable to marry in the legal sense of the word versus establishing a domestic partnership? This is information which might help myself and others make a more informed decision on the matter rather than an emotionally charged one. The Civil Rights Movement was one in which we fought for “rights” – to vote, to be educated, to own property, to be free. We didn’t seek to change the meaning of equality or humanity, only to prove that we should be counted as one whole human being and thus, were entitled to be treated as such.
What is the difference, legally, between marriage and a domestic partnership? What rights are in question? What are your thoughts on the issue of gay marriage? If the term marriage is redefined, where will the line be drawn in terms of who can get married and who can’t?